The year 2022 has been very challenging for many reasons, from the war in Ukraine to the energy and food crisis, inflation, rising inequality, increased burning of coal and fossil fuels… but above all it has been on a global scale. Climate change appears to be accelerating with extreme heat waves in East Africa, storms like Ian and Fiona, extreme droughts in Europe or Brazil, floods in Pakistan, West Africa or South Africa, northern and central Europe Hurricanes, tropical storms in the Philippines or cyclones in Bangladesh, to name a few examples. In addition to hunger, deaths and millions of displaced, these events took place. Devastating heat waves in Spain (with annual temperature records that have already exceeded 15 degrees Celsius since records existed), burned areas of more than 300,000 hectares, in one of the most significant droughts in the last 50 years. There is one. It is important that we take steps to reduce these impacts and protect people and the environment.
Sustainability policies are key to addressing these challenges, and they need to be strong and scientifically sound to have a real impact. That should be the focus for 2023.
This should be the year of decarbonization through measures such as energy efficiency, implementation of renewable energy, electrification of the economy, but also with reduction, essential in the most polluting activities. The principle of differentiated responsibility should be taken into account and applied so that those sectors which have contributed significantly to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions receive more responsibility in the solution. In the world, emissions continue to increase, even in Spain, which is why real achievements in the decarbonization of society have not yet been achieved. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also proposed that governments tax the extraordinary profits of fossil fuel companies and that the tax serve to offset the damage caused by the climate crisis.
Products and materials must be efficiently reused and recycled to avoid waste production and reduce dependence on natural resources.
The COP15 summit in Montreal indicated that in 2023, humanity will have to take biodiversity conservation more seriously. Their loss has serious consequences for the environment and society. Some measures that can contribute are the protection of natural habitats, the promotion of sustainable forest management and sustainable agricultural practices, as well as the inclusion of biodiversity in all plans and programmes.
The circular economy is another priority for the coming year, as it promotes efficient use of resources and minimizes environmental impact. Furthermore, it can contribute to job creation and long-term sustainability. Products and materials must be efficiently reused and recycled to avoid waste production and reduce dependence on natural resources.
In this wish list of how we can improve the planet by 2023, the fight against inequality is one of the central challenges. Social and economic inequalities have worsened in recent years, and this has a negative impact on the stability of societies as well as the quality of life for all. This can be countered through policies that promote equal opportunities and social justice, such as redistribution, promotion of quality jobs, social protection for the most vulnerable, and improvements in education and training.
Citizen participation can be useful in identifying creative and cost-effective solutions to reduce carbon footprints, promote biodiversity conservation, and protect ecosystems.
Transparency is another pending task in this 2023, and can be addressed with information and accountability as key principles to foster trust and accountability in companies and public institutions. Transparency refers to the availability of relevant and verifiable data to the public, whereas accountability must be held accountable for the activities and decisions of an organization, so that Washing (image laundering due to stability) It should go away immediately. Clear and periodic indicators are necessary that constantly alert us whether we are making progress or not.
Also in 2023, and in times of crisis caused by ecological crisis and climate change, it is especially important to involve the community in decision making and implementation of sustainable policies and measures. Open democracy and civic assemblies are necessary to promote participation and ensure that policies reflect the needs and concerns of all members of the community. It is important not only for decision making, but also for the implementation and monitoring of the measures adopted. Thus, it can be useful to identify creative and cost-effective solutions to reduce carbon footprints, promote biodiversity conservation, and protect ecosystems. Furthermore, it contributes to increasing trust in institutions and social cohesion, which can be particularly valuable in times of uncertainty and crisis. It is essential to have mechanisms in place to ensure that decisions made at citizens’ assemblies are effectively implemented and maintained over time, and to allow citizens to evaluate and monitor them.
All of these actions are important for achieving a more sustainable future. And they have to be implemented at all levels by various governments as well as private actors. Society, for its part, must be committed to and involved in each of these areas. There is just too much to do and the exercise of working towards sustainability can be very addictive. There is still time to change the future. Let’s take advantage of this.
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